Flying Officer Raymond Grant Lewis
On 5th February 1941, No.1 Squadron RAF, were escorting Blenheim bombers to St. Omer as part of “Circus No.2.” The Squadron’s formation broke up in cloud and Flying Officer Raymond Grant Lewis was singled out by a Messerschmitt Me109. His Hawker Hurricane (P3920) was hit and the engine caught fire. Lewis radioed his position and baled out of his burning aircraft, but sadly, he lost his life in the icy waters of the English Channel.
FLYING OFFICER RAYMOND GRANT LEWIS was born in Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan, Canada, and lived in Vancouver. He enlisted in the RAF in January 1939 and joined No.1 Hurricane Squadron at Vassincourt, France in November. On 12th May 1940, Lewis shot down a Me109’s over the Maastricht Bridges, but was shot down in flames himself. He managed to bale out of his Hurricane (L1688) but was “captured” by French or Belgian civilians who mistook him for a German. Despite this, he was back in action with his squadron two days later, and brought down a Me110.
From June until October 1940, Raymond was an instructor at No.60 Operational Training Unit, RAF Wittering, but he was soon back with No.1 Squadron and shared in the destruction of a Junkers 88 with Flight Lieutenant Hanks at the end of October.
Lewis’s fine record earned him a Mention in Dispatches, gazetted 1st January 1941:
“Since 10th May 1940, this officer has been involved in four combats with, two of which were against a much superior force of enemy fighters and each time he shot down one enemy aircraft. On the latter occasion he had to land by parachute. His courage is undauntable and no odds are too great for him.”
Flying Officer Lewis’s short but eventful life ended on 5th February 1941, when he was shot down over the English Channel, leading “A” Flight of No.1 Squadron. Having no known grave, he is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial.
Rest in peace Sir and thank you for your service.
Canadians in the Royal Air Force by Les Allison